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Home :: Archive :: 2011 :: May ::
Falstaff as Spoof of Henry VIII?


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 22.0078  Monday, 16 May 2011

From:           Richard Waugaman < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Date:           April 26, 2011 5:40:41 PM EDT
Subject:       Falstaff as Spoof of Henry VIII?

I am curious how others feel about the possibility that Shakespeare’s Falstaff spoofed not just Sir John Oldcastle, but was more subtly and subversively aimed at memories of the aging Henry VIII. Such a hypothesis might seem inconsistent with the legend that Queen Elizabeth liked the character so much that Merry Wives of Windsor was written to bring him back to the stage, and ‘to shew him in Love’ (Nicholas Rowe). But even if she consciously noticed the veiled allusions to her lusty, corpulent father, Elizabeth had good grounds for feeling ambivalent towards him.

Richard M. Waugaman


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